Everyone loves a bargain. I’m no exception. As I’ve said before, I am trying hard to buy indie books and support my fellow writers. I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, and indie prices are definitely better than traditionally published books that are oftentimes priced the same as the paperback versions. I’ll admit, lately I’ve been filling my reader up with the free books I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter. Sites like ENT, Pixel of Ink, and even Amazon have daily listings of free books and they have thousandsof followers. If there are so many free books available, why should readers pay?
My husband always says things are only worth what people are willing to pay for them. Authors put so much time and energy into their books (not to mention input from editors, cover artists, beta readers, reviewers, etc.). Shouldn’t they be compensated? I know I want people to buy my book. I love writing, but do I want to keep putting books out without the prospect of getting some royalties in return. I don’t love writing that much.
I have read a lot of blogs recently debating this very subject and indie ebook pricing in general. There are two camps. There are those who believe that offering your book for free (at least temporarily) is a great way to get your book into the hands of readers and will ideally create some buzz including climbing the all powerful Amazon rankings with the hope that it will stimulate future sales. In talking to authors, the success of this strategy is not consistent. For some authors, it was the just the push they needed and their book sales have continued to increase after the free promotion. For other authors, they saw a spike in sales and then a drop off back to pre-promo levels. One author who had his book up for free for several days had a shout out from ENT and got 7000 downloads. Ok, so that’s a great way to get his book out there, but the business side of me thinks at $2.00 a pop in royalties, that’s $14,000.00 lost! Granted, he wasn’t getting 7000 downloads before that, but I’m a business person at heart and that just hurts.
The second camp thinks that free ebooks are hurting authors; that readers are going to get used to getting books for free and stick with those or wait for author promos to pick them up. Authors have a right to be compensated for the time and effort they put into a book. For some, it’s a full time job. It’s how they make a living. I have a terrible confession. I have a traditionally published author I love. When her latest book came out, I went to buy it and saw that it was priced as high as the paperback, so I didn’t get it. A few weeks later, I saw a promo by the author for that same book, and I bought it for less than 1/3 of the original price. I did it. I refused to pay full price for an author’s work and was able to get it much cheaper. The people in this camp also think that how you price your book says something about the content. If you offer your book for free or $0.99 that’s all it’s worth inside. How do you determine the value or worth of someone’s creative process?
As usual, I have more questions than answers. My books fall in the paranormal romance genre which is brutal. I have complained several times here on my blog about trying to get noticed in a genre that is not only flooded with indie writers, but has a long list of awesome traditionally published authors as well. How can I get my book noticed in an ocean of books in this genre? I have my book priced at $2.99 so now I’m also in competition with free and $0.99 books. If all goes well, I will be publishing my second book this June. It is the next book in my series, so the question comes up – should I offer my first book for free temporarily? As a marketing strategy, it makes sense for books in a series. If I list my first book for free for a short time and generate enough interest, hopefully they will come back and pay for the second.
Would love to hear what you think on the subject or what the results have been if you offered your book for free. Thanks for stopping by!